Name: Mie Marie Ejdrup
Age: 32 years old
Current occupation: Jewellery Industry Expert & Co-Founder of FineMatter
What did you dream about as a child?
It was always about being successful at something. The dream as such would change over the years but would always drill down to excelling at something.
‘Ordinary things' bored me a bit. I wanted to be an astronaut, a professional ballet dancer, or a famous writer. When I started drawing and painting, I wanted to become a gallery owner. I thought life was colorful. And full of opportunities.
What key experience impacted you to move in the direction you are moving today?
When I was 15, I decided to move to Northern Italy to study art and art history. I was young and will never forget that feeling of arriving by train alone, gliding onto the platform of a completely new city, in a completely new country, speaking a completely new language, and living by completely new cultural norms.
Looking back, I learned more during my time in Italy, than during any other period of my life. Italians are passionate. They taught me to love and appreciate their culture, art, food, nature, fashion, language, architecture, history, interior design, and much more. And that period taught me a lot about myself too. It was the first time I was truly on my own. Italy will always be this magical bubble of memories and learnings that have guided me ever since. Without knowing it, it was probably where the first sparkle for many things was born.
What choice you’ve made in your life are you most proud of, and why?
Founding my own venture.
It was scary to quit my stable and well-paid corporate job to pursue a dream that I didn't know where would take me. We invested our savings in the business and didn't know for how long we'd have to make it without a salary. That kind of uncertainty is nerve-racking, but also what you need to get you going.
And when we got funding, I was shocked to experience how few female founders are actually VC-backed. With that arose a separate ambition – to set an example and if at all be a source of inspiration for other women considering to found their own businesses. We need more female founders, we need more role models, and we need more women cheering other women along.
What choice has been the easiest, and why?
I think the easiest choices are the ones that come most naturally. And moving to first Italy, then London, and later New York, felt like an obvious choice to me. I get a lot of energy from meeting new people and getting to know new destinations. I’ve learned so much from all the places I’ve lived, and they still feel like a special second home when I go back.
The only thing I regret is not having done it more. I would have loved to live in Tokyo or Paris as well, for instance.
”Truth is, I think most people are good at what they do when they love what they do. And quite frankly, that’s the advice I would have liked to give my younger self.”
What has been the hardest choice you’ve taken, and why?
I come from a generalist background. I used to study International Business and went directly into management consulting at the age of 24. Having a relatively broad profile means that you have a lot of opportunities and a lot of open doors. And looking back I was always afraid of making decisions that would shut some of those doors. What if I made the wrong choice? What would others think? What if I failed?
Truth is, I think most people are good at what they do when they love what they do. And quite frankly, that’s the advice I would have liked to give my younger self. Instead of trying to draw my career line as a 24-year-old associate, aiming at figuring out what step should lead to the next, then knowing that if you follow your instincts, go for what you’re passionate about, grab opportunities when they’re there, quite naturally you’ll end up in the right place for you. And then choices become much easier to make.
How do you find inspiration and confidence to step out of your comfort zone?
Over the years, I’ve built a sort of network of personal mentors. Consisting of inspiring people that I’ve worked with, come to meet along the way, or whom I’ve reached out to myself. This hasn’t been a deliberate choice but has happened naturally over time. It’s always been driven by more or less formal conversations that have then developed into stronger relations.
The frequency by which I meet with them varies. The topics that we discuss vary. And the format varies. But I always come out of those conversations and feel energized. Either because I’ve been offered a piece of valuable advice, because I’ve been guided, challenged, or inspired to make a new and important step, or because I’ve simply been cheered along over a good glass of wine.
What personal characteristics do people most often use to describe you?
I’m a huge extrovert. When I started in management consulting, I was asked to take an MBTI personality test, and when the results came back, I realised I’d maxed out the extroversion scale. When I highlight this characteristic, it’s because it’s quite defining for who I am and the choices I’ve made along the way.
How do you feel these unique characteristics have impacted your way in life?
I get energy from spending time with other people and it’s always in company with others that I get the best ideas. I love to brainstorm and value other people’s input. I love a good team effort. I love to be busy and work on many different projects at once. And I like to think of myself as being attentive to other people and their needs. Basically, my best memories are always shared.
“Be honest about what you’re passionate about to yourself and others, so you can use it as a strength instead of trying to keep all opportunities open. Find out what supports you in making good decisions.”
What is your best advice to others who would like to feel more comfortable about making personal choices?
Find some good mentors that can guide, inspire and challenge you.
Be honest about what you’re passionate about to yourself and others, so you can use it as a strength instead of trying to keep all opportunities open.
Find out what supports you in making good decisions. Maybe it’s being physically active, meditating, seeing a professional coach, spending time alone, discussing pros and cons with others – or maybe it's a combination of all.
Follow Mie at Instagram @mieejdrup.